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Wacky Races

One of the best cartoons was 'Wacky Races'. It was like an animated version of Cannonball Run or Smoky and the Bandit. A group of misfits would race across the American states in order to win the 'wacky race' however the evil villain of the piece - Dick Dastardly would set traps for the others so he would win.

It may surprise you that only 15 episodes of the Wacky Races cartoon series were made. The follow up cartoons like Fender Bender 500 were not up to the originals standards, and to put it simply Yogi Bear is annoying and the whole series lacked the original's fun characters…And what ever you do, don't get me started on Yogi's Space Race.

So it is only now that the Wacky Races license has been transformed into a colourful racing game, but is this any different from the other similar games available? Lets ignore Mario Kart as I was playing Apogee's Wacky Wheels on shareware for most of the time and only now has another game come along to rival it. Wacky Races has been developed with great care, it is obvious that the developers were also fans of the cartoon.

The graphics are as stylistic as the cartoon, but benefit from a wider colour palette. The characters look exactly like their 2D counterparts, and as soon as you load the game up you are treated to a 3D version of the cartoons opening titles. Sadly only the car introduction portion of the titles has been incorporated but even this is enough to bring a tear of nostalgia to your eye.

Okay so the graphics are amazingly stylistic, but what about the sound. The character voices have been re-recorded; for the most part they are very good. You will be disappointed by Dick Dastardly's voice, but will soon forget this when you hear Penelope Pitstop's voice. It is perfect. However the biggest excitement is that Greg Proops is the announcer and commentator. Some of you may not be aware of who he is, so I will enlighten you. He is an American comic who regularly appears on "Who's line is it anyway?' and also hosted a Channel 4 science fiction quiz 5 years ago.

However all the care and attention lavished on the sound and graphics would be in vain if the tracks were poorly designed. Well fortunately they are good, don't go expecting any MSR quality road layouts - this is Wacky Races remember! Nevertheless the tracks are well designed with alternative routes and some really wide areas, which cleverly give the impression of you driving across the U.S. states. The tracks come in many different flavours, ranging from the snow peak sections to the sandy Oil and Mining sections. Each car handles differently so you will have to experiment to see which car suits which landscape.  

Each area has 5 race sections to complete, however to access the Cup challenges and the Battle areas you have to perform well gaining stars and by fulfilling the different race criteria. Stars are awarded by finishing first, some tracks need a specific number of stars before you can access them.

Disappointments are few. First the vocal samples tend to repeat too often for my liking, but this is unavoidable and is only noticeable after much play. The actual races are always very close and feel more like a Destruction Derby, than a cross state race. Even if you are leading does not always mean you will win, all too often the CPU players will launch a special attack and you will go from first place to last.

Each car can select 3 special attacks; more are gained by beating the 'boss' characters. These special attacks can only be used if you have enough wacky tokens. Tokens are littered all over the tracks, and if you want to win you should make use of the speed boosts that some of the cars have.

Accessing Dick Dastardly, The Red Max, and Pat Pending is time consuming, because they are the boss characters. They will appear in the main hub of the game after you have successfully finished certain tasks. You then have to race and beat them to use them in the main game.

The cars all handle similarly, but you can use them in Kart style or the Advanced setup. The Kart style is more fun and is the favoured control style.

Wacky Races also supports up to 4 players, splitting the screen depending on the number of players. Slowdown does appear when played in multiplayer mode, it is annoying at first - but the speed difference is acceptable and the game does not suffer on the whole that much. Wacky Races is not without its faults, but it is the best 'fun style' racing game. Whether the game would have been as good without the 'Wacky Races' license is debatable. In short this game has great well-established characters and tons of fun and challenge, it should definitely be a top purchase.

Sam Smith,




True to the cartoon's style, bet better!
Sound 7 Character voices very close to the cartoon, and Greg Proops is perfect as the announcer.
Gameplay 7 Lots of race challenges to complete, but when they are done then it is all down to racing your friends.
Lifespan 7

Well thought out challenges, and you will play the game just to use Dick Dastardly.


"Here comes the craziest collection of contraptions ever to hit the track, all trying to become worlds Wackiest Racer!”


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Developer Infogrames
Publisher Infogrames
Genre Racing
Players 1-4
Extras Rumble, Arcade stick



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